Grammy Award-winning American R&B singer, Maxwell, and Jamaican, Tessanne Chin, the Season 5 winner of the American reality singing competition, “The Voice”, are among the A-list performers on this year’s Saint Lucia Jazz & Arts Festival.
Maxwell and Chin’s confirmation for the hosting of the 23rd was announced on Thursday evening during the official media launch of the event held at Sandals Halcyon.
Other artistes on the lineup that has since received mixed reviews include The Commodores, Monty Alexander, Blue Mango, Ronald “Boo” Hinkson, Dee Dee Bridgewater, Omar Sosa, Barrington Levy, Alternative Quartet, Teddyson John, Allison Hinds, P-Square, Elvis Crespo, Kem, Shayne Ross and Aisha Gustave.
This year’s Saint Lucia Jazz & Arts Festival runs from April 30 to May 11.
Director of Tourism, Louis Lewis, said that since the festival was rebranded and revamped last year, there have been crucial gains for the festival that recently had to scale back on its budget due to a reduction of funding from central government.
“The interesting thing that we have had is that the new direction that we have taken with the festival has allowed us to do something which is very unique: to incorporate the arts into the festival,” Lewis said. “If you look at our arrivals performance for 2013, I think a lot of it has to do with the marrying of our promotional direction with the transition that took place in the arts.”
Lewis said the Saint Lucia Tourist Board (SLTB) has made the conscious decision to capitalize on the rich cultural aspect of Saint Lucia in an effort to create an all-round experience that both visitors and locals can appreciate. He said the SLTB, mindful of its limited budgetary abilities, had come up with a lineup that is diverse, attractive and of high quality.
Minister for Tourism, Heritage and the Creative Industries, Lorne Theophilus, said the festival which went through a massive transformation last year – including the change of name from the Saint Lucia Jazz Festival – has produced significant spinoffs since its rebirth.
“The combination of top quality music and artistic inputs set the tone for the new and improved festival which received rave reviews at its conclusion last year. This is not just an antidotal reflection, but based on feedback from over 3,500 visitors and numerous locals who attended, over 80% of the patrons rated the festival as either good or excellent. Over 60% felt that the festival was much better with the arts infusion,” the minister said.
Theophilus said the rebranded and revamped music festival has resulted in Saint Lucia garnering even more international recognition, with the international media showering even more praises on the annual music festival.